"There's a louse in my house!"
No one likes the dreaded call from the school nurse informing parents of head lice on their children. Lice do not cause a health threat unless infection becomes a problem, but they do cause frustration for many parents. Head lice are resistant little creatures and they do not scare easily.
Some facts regarding lice are as follows:
- Head lice have six legs equipped with claws to grasp the air and scalp.
- Head lice are crawling insects. They cannot hop, jump, or fly.
- Head lice need human blood to survive.
- Head lice can survive up to 48 hours off the human host.
- Head lice live for about 30 days on a host and a female louse can lay up to 100 nits.
- Head lice do not pick and chose their host. They are just looking for a warm head.
There is no quick and easy cure-all for head lice. Treatment consists of lice killing shampoo, careful removal of nits (eggs), treatment of other family members, and cleaning of the home and family cars. Contrary to poplar belief, schools are not the most common place where lice are spread. Sleep overs among friends and family members are thought to be the most common means of
spreading lice. Movie theatres are also a common mode of transmission.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control do not recommend or endorse mass screenings for head lice in the school setting. The most effective way of keeping lice at bay is for the parent to check their child/children often and seek treatment when found. District Five schools do not conduct mass screenings for lice.
Teach your child to:
- Avoid head to head contact at school, playground, or during sports activities
- Avoid sharing combs, brushes, hairbows, hats, scarves, ribbons, barrettes, helmets, and towels
- Avoid lying on bedding, pillows, carpets that have been used by someone with lice.